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Glazier

Source of Information: Next Step / DirectGov / Careers Advice Service

Glazier

The Work

As a glazier you would install glass panes in homes and businesses, for example fitting double glazing in a house, or installing windows in a new office development. You would also carry out glass repairs.

On a glass replacement project, you would:

  • select the correct glass for the job, for example plate glass to go in a shop front or toughened security glass for a bank
  • remove the old or broken panes, using tools like suction pads (for larger pieces), chisels and pliers
  • clean out the beading or putty from frames
  • fit the new glass
  • make the fitting watertight using sealants, rubber strips or lead and aluminium flashing.

You would normally use made-to-measure glass panes, which have been cut to size in a workshop beforehand, although you may need to make some small adjustments and shape pieces on site, with diamond- or wheel-cutting tools.

As well as fitting glass, you could work in the manufacture of glazed units, such as timber- or UPVC-framed windows and doors. With experience, you may be able to use your skills on specialist projects, for instance on churches or other old buildings.

Hours and Environment

You would work 37 to 40 hours a week, which could include out-of-hours duties for emergency replacement of broken glass.

Some jobs would involve working at heights from ladders, scaffolding or suspended cradles. You would normally wear protective clothing, such as gloves and a hard hat.

You would travel from job to job, and some contracts may involve you working away from home for periods at a time.

Skills and Interests


  • the ability to follow drawings and plans
  • good practical skills
  • a careful and methodical approach to your work
  • the ability to take accurate measurements for glass cutting
  • good maths skills for making calculations
  • an awareness of safety issues, particularly when working at heights
  • a reasonable level of fitness
  • the ability to work as part of a team and alone
  • good customer service skills
  • a creative approach to colour and shape for some specialist jobs.

Entry

You do not always need qualifications, but employers tend to want people with some on-site experience. If you have not worked in construction before, you could look for a job as a glazier's assistant (mate) or labourer to get this experience. Once you are working, your employer may be willing to offer you glazing installation training.

A college course, such as a Construction Award, would teach you some of the skills needed for the job, but employers may still want you to have some site experience. Check with your local colleges for course details and exact entry requirements.

You may be able to get into this career through an Apprenticeship scheme with a glazing or building firm. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more, visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

To get on to an Apprenticeship, you may need GCSEs in subjects like maths, English and design and technology, or equivalent vocational qualifications like the BTEC Introductory Certificate or Diploma in Construction.

For more information about construction careers and qualifications, visit the ConstructionSkills website. The Know Your Place campaign aims to promote the construction industry as a career choice for women.

Training

Once you are working, you could take qualifications like the NVQ in Glazing at levels 2 and 3. The NVQ has options in shaping and cutting glass, installation, and health and safety, plus optional units including:

  • fitting glass stairs and floors
  • security glazing
  • shop fronts
  • overhead installations, for example glass roofing.

If your job involves assembling pre-fabricated glazed units, you could take the NVQ in Fenestration Installation and Surveying at levels 2 and 3, or Production of Glass Supporting Fabrications at levels 2 and 3. See the Window Fitter job profile for more details about these qualifications.

For more information about qualifications and training centres offering assessment for glazing and installation NVQs, contact Glass Training Ltd and the Glass Qualifications Authority.

You could also take the Foundation Degree in Management and Glass Technology, offered by Wakefield College in partnership with Leeds Metropolitan University. This qualification would help you to move into supervisory or management positions within the industry.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Many building contractors now insist that you have a CSCS card to work on their sites. The card is proof of your skills and competence. To get your card you must:

  • pass a health and safety assessment
  • have an NVQ or equivalent qualification.

If you are working without qualifications, you may be able to use On-Site Assessment and Training (OSAT) or Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) to get your NVQ and card. Contact CSCS for further details.

Opportunities

You may find opportunities with businesses that sell, cut and install glass for construction companies, or with local authorities, public organisations and shopfitting companies. You could also work for glazing firms that specialise in conservatory construction, glass roofing or emergency repairs for shops and offices.

With experience, you could progress to technician or supervisor level, overseeing a team of glaziers, or move into specialist work. You could also become self-employed and work on a sub-contract basis.

You could also work in the automotive industry, repairing and replacing windscreens on vehicles. See the Motor Vehicle Body Repairer job profile for more details.

You may find the following useful for job vacancies and general reading: (links open in new window)

Glass and Glazing Federation (find glazing companies)
bConstructive
Construction Jobs Network
Directgov (Jobseekers page)

We do not accept responsibility for the content of external sites.

Annual Income


  • Starting salaries can be between 13,000 and 16,500 a year.
  • With qualifications, glaziers can expect to earn up to 20,000.
  • Experienced glaziers with additional responsibilities may earn over 23,000 a year.

Overtime and shift allowances may increase income, while self-employed glaziers set their own rates.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Further information

If you would like to discuss your career options with a learning advisor at the Careers Advice Service advice line, call 0800 100 900 or use our online enquiry form.
 

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